In this blog series, we’ll be covering off some of the “must knows” in planning terms, before you get too far with your development plans and resource consent application. In our previous blogs, we have looked at the implications of the site’s zoning and overlays, how site features can impact development potential, how to maximise your development and the constraints and opportunities relating to transportation.
This week we’re talking about Records of Title and why you should review the before planning a new development. The Record of Title may note documents that can restrict development, place specific requirements on your project, trigger the need for resource consent or approval from specific people/ groups.
What is a Record of Title?
Records of Title include legal information regarding property, including the legal owners and the rights and restrictions that apply to the land. This can include for example land covenants, consent notices and easements. One of our previous blogs here covers more about what a Record of Title is.
Land covenants are essentially restrictions that affect how owners and occupiers of the land may use it. Land covenants are typically imposed by private individuals/ companies (often the developer) but can also be imposed by a local Council. Land covenants are restrictions that you must comply with, in addition to anything in other legislation, such as the Auckland Unitary Plan or the Building Code. Compliance is also in addition to any resource consent or building consent approved (for example having a valid resource consent does not mean you don’t have to comply with a land covenant).
Common land covenant topics include limitations on materials of buildings, how many dwellings can be built, the minimum size of dwellings, the height and location of fences and even maintenance of landscaping. Land covenants can also restrict what activities can take place on the land.
Consent notice and conditions
Consent notices are a form of covenant between the Council and landowner and can only be imposed through a subdivision consent. Consent notices contain conditions imposed by the Council requiring landowners (and often occupiers) to comply with consent conditions on an ongoing basis, after the subdivision consent has been implemented.
Consent notice conditions can relate to a very wide range of issues and are enforced by the Council. The conditions could for example relate to building platform locations, colours and height of buildings, engineering works, restrictions of site coverage and protection of natural features. Compliance is often monitored by the Council, and also checked and building consent and resource consent assessment stages.
You can apply to change or cancel a consent notice condition. This application is made under section s221(3) of the Resource Management Act and is similar to a resource consent application. This type of application would require an Assessment of Environmental Effects report and supporting assessment, including assessment of potential effects and assessment against relevant objectives and policies. The application can be notified and/ or declined, and we recommend you discussing with your planner. You can also find out more here.
Building line restrictions
Building Line Restrictions (BLR’s) are imposed to provide for future public works, such as the widening of roads under the Public Works Act. Having a BLR on your property affects where you can develop, and in Auckland where the front yard setback described in the Auckland Unitary Plan is measured from. In Auckland, the BLR is treated as the site boundary for the purpose of assessing yards. Therefore, any building you establish on the site should comply with yard setback requirements measured from BLR, or resource consent will be required.
You can apply to Auckland Transport to have the BLR removed from your title, which will give you more flexibility in terms of development. Often BLR’s are historical documents, and the public work they refer to has been undertaken or is no longer proposed. It is more common now for public works to be indicated by designations on the Auckland Unitary Plan planning maps.
Limited as to parcels
Limited as to parcels means that the area and dimensions of the site is not guaranteed, as a survey may not have been properly undertaken at the time. Sites that are subject to this notation may in reality be smaller than originally anticipated and this can create Auckland Unitary Plan infringements, such as building coverage or impermeable area.
If your title is “limited as to parcels”, we recommend you engage a surveyor to investigate this further.
Easements allow owners of one lot to use land on another lot for specific purposes, such as access, drainage or electricity. If your site is subject to an easement, it provides another landowner the right to legally use part of land that you own, but does not affect or change the land ownership. Easements can restrict what you can do on this part of land, so it is important you understand what the easement relates to and the area of land the easement affects.
Thinking of developing your site?
If you have a development in mind, it's important to do the right investigations upfront, to reduce risks, costs and get the best results. If you have a development in mind, get in contact with our team of experienced, qualified planners. You can contact us on email@example.com or (09) 427 9966.
Mary Zhou is a Planner at Planning Plus®. Mary has been part of the Planning Plus team since 2021 and has a real passion and drive for all things planning. Mary has experience with a variety of projects including rural and urban land use, subdivision and feasibility analysis.
Please remember that the advice in this blog is general in nature and based on information and advice available at the time of writing. We recommend you get your own planning advice. As with all our blogs this information is preliminary in nature only and we have used our best endeavours to ensure it is correct at the time of writing. It is not intended to substitute for your own investigations or obtaining specific advice from professionals. Planning Plus LtdTM is not liable in any way for any errors or omissions.
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